Beautiful Mess Pt. 1

So, the United States has a new president. Republicans gained ground in the House of Representatives and maintained control of the Senate. The Supreme Court added a conservatively valued justice and the White House will transition under president-elect Joe Biden. Beautiful.

People want to argue about divides in America: racial divides, political divides, values divides. Did you notice how small town America lit up the country map with red, but the major population areas shown blue? Was the 2020 election an epic battle between small town values and big city voices? Maybe. What a mess!

What if there was a different response though? Perhaps, what we just witnessed in the United States was the best representation of democracy the world has seen. In a record turnout, voices were heard and votes were counted. Democracy is a beautiful mess.

And so is the church. The Bible tells us that Christ loves the church and gave his life for the church (Ephesians 5:25). Scripture declares that Christ is head of the church and we are its body (Colossians 1:18). Further, we are told that Christ builds the church and that it the church will prevail against evil in the world. (Matthew 16:17-20).

In that same Matthew passage, Jesus tells his disciples that they will hold the keys to Kingdom (the church) and set hope loose on the world. Yet, it doesn’t take long for people to lead something that we see trouble. Racial discrimination was prominent in the early church. Favoritism was prominent in the early church. Sexual scandals, leadership abuse, false teachings and clamorings for popularity were part of the creep in those early days. Yet, Christ loved the church. It is a beautiful mess.

Today, even as we watch the dynamics of gathering together and sacred spaces shift because of COVID-19, the echoes of a contemporary world struggle with the relevance of “church” and its significance in the world. The church in America is becoming more associated with political alignment than being the hands of Christ. The church in America is more associated with bigotry than it is witnessing to the love and truth of God. Scandal still exists across broken platforms of Catholic, protestant and evangelical churches. Yet, Christ still loves the church. It is a beautiful mess.

As we move to the close of 2020, we will engage a mess of a church in that ancient world to see Christ’s beautiful vision for the church today. 1st Corinthians sets our backdrop. 21st Century America is our stage. Engage the Scriptures and encounter the beautiful mess for yourself.

Suggested Reading Plan:
  • Week 1: 1st Corinthians 1:1-4:21
  • Week 2: 1st Corinthians 5:1-8:13
  • Week 3: 1st Corinthians 9:1-11:1
  • Week 4: 1st Corinthians 11:2-12:11
  • Week 5: 1st Corinthians 12:12-14:40
  • Week 6: 1st Corinthians 15:1-16:24

Study guides or reflection videos will be released each week to help guide you through the weekly readings. I'm excited to take this journey through Scripture with you. My prayer is that God meets us in every moment, preparing this church for whatever and to wherever He leads next.

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